I nearly crashed the car. Driving a road I’ve driven hundreds of times, I had to do a double-take. Were all the trees in the park wearing sweaters? Had the park benches been kitted out in knitted flags? Mad.
On the way back, I pulled in to have a look. And yes, Liffey Park in Newbridge has been yarn bombed in celebration of the creativity in the county. Love it.
Yarn bombing is also known as yarn storming, guerrilla knitting, kniffiti, urban knitting, or graffiti knitting. Wikipedia says:
[…] yarn bombing has become synonymous with the current feminist movement due in part to the reclamation of a traditionally feminine act (i.e. knitting and/or crocheting) to partake in the traditionally masculine and male-dominated graffiti scene. The women and girls who make up the yarn bombing subculture are diverse in race, age, sexuality, class, etc. and create space for themselves and their art everywhere from college campuses to public parks. This creation and preservation of space is what motivates some of the participants, some of whom have never been able to access a political art space before.
It’s a relatively new phenomenon, apparently originating in Texas back in 2005 when boutique owner Magda Sayeg covered the doorhandle of her shop in Houston with a knitted cozy. And from such small beginnings, a global movement has sprung. International Yarnbombing Day was first celebrated on 11 June 2011. Who knew.
In a 2005 article published in the Royal Geographical Society journal Area, author Joanna Mann argues that yarn bombing
[…]does more than feminise the city, for the whimsy with which it is imbued has the capacity to increase our attentiveness to habitual worlds in a series of micro‐political gestures.
It’s quite something. When I first came across it (can’t remember where) I remember thinking that it brightened up what was otherwise quite a dreary place. And admittedly, it is all rather frivolous – but it certainly attracts attention, is temporary in nature, can be easily removed, and makes for a happy place. Kudos to the Kildare Yarn Bombers. Job well done.